Intent Data: How to Focus on the Signals that Matter

Sales and marketing leaders have reached a tipping point when it comes to using intent data, and they’re not looking back.

More than half of all B2B marketers are already using intent data to increase sales, and Gartner Inc. predicts this figure will grow to 70 percent in the months ahead. At ZoomInfo, the use of intent data on our platform in the second quarter grew more than 400 percent from a year earlier. 

The reason is clear: intent can provide massive amounts of data that reveal sales opportunities earlier than ever before. 

What Intent Really Means (and What It Doesn’t)

Let’s say one of your biggest customers is due to renew their contract in the next quarter. Before kicking off any discussions with their account manager, the client’s team starts researching similar products and assembling a list of possible alternatives to your solution.

That’s a pretty strong sign your customer could be lured away. This is the backbone of intent analysis: sifting through the digital body language of modern web consumption to better understand what’s motivating B2B purchasers — before they even ask for a meeting. 

Our product, ZoomInfo Intent, analyzes billions of website pageviews to help you understand what matters to your prospects and customers. That allows sales and marketing teams to more efficiently align content and outreach efforts to match their target’s interests, engaging prospects with the right approach at the right time. 

Intent data isn’t a red carpet to a signed contract. But it can increase conversion rates across the different channels you’re already using to engage with your potential customers.

Getting the Signals That Matter

Step 1: Choose your topics

Intent data providers typically track thousands of topics, most of which will not apply to your business. This can be overwhelming, adding noise to your workflow and complicating your outreach efforts. 

ZoomInfo Intent’s proprietary technology avoids this information overload by focusing on data that corresponds with business goals. If your customers tend to follow a similar path on the way to signing a contract, your marketing and sales teams know which topics and messages to emphasize — and which to leave behind.

ZoomInfo Intent sorts data into thousands of predetermined topics to help sharpen your marketing and sales focus. We also offer custom topics, which allow you to specify the exact keywords and topics that best align with the interests of your target customer.

Our team of specialists can also research the topics that make sense for your business and come up with a proposal for keywords to monitor. Custom topics are becoming increasingly popular with ZoomInfo customers because they’re very specific to a single customer’s needs and visible only to your users.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • To learn which prospects are interested in your product category, consider selecting keywords and phrases that describe or are related to your solution. 
  • To identify which customers might be actively evaluating solutions and might be ready to buy, consider selecting topics based on competitor names or products, or that otherwise line up with this phase in the buying process.
  • To surface companies that are still in the awareness phase and researching a category at a very high level, consider selecting topics on timely issues, known challenges, or pain points. 

Step 2: Focus on Your Target Market

If you sell to businesses with more than 1,000 employees, you probably don’t care that a 10-person company is showing intent spikes for your products and services. 

Use firmographic and fit data to ignore companies that are not ideal fits — or at least prioritize outreach to the best-fit accounts. Maybe you know the companies that are most likely to buy your products also use Salesforce and Atlassian, and have raised at least $10 million in venture or private equity investment. 

With ZoomInfo, you can act only on the intent spikes for the companies that meet those specific criteria.

Step 3: Narrow Your Results

There are many ways ZoomInfo users can whittle down intent results to reflect the best opportunities. Here are a few of the most popular:

1. Filter companies with the highest levels of intent

This topic is so important that we produced a webinar that shows how to use all of ZoomInfo’s intent data points: Date Range, Signal Score, and Audience Strength.

Date Range: Identifies the companies that were showing repeated interest in your topics during a specified time period. These companies are more likely to be interested in your product because they’re showing sustained interest over a span of several weeks or months. 

Signal Score: Signal Score represents intensity of interest by showing how far above average a company has been consuming content on a topic. Companies with a high Signal Score are doing something new or unusual, such as researching a new product category.

Audience Strength: Audience Strength helps identify intent spikes caused by a broader amount of research — for instance, carried out across multiple days or multiple sites — compared to one research session in one place.

2. Look for companies spiking on multiple topics

One of the best indicators that a company is truly in the market for your product or service is showing intent across multiple topics that apply to your business.

For example: Say you’re a company that sells outdoor furniture for office parks and corporate roof-decks. You’re not interested in the consumer market, but most of the internet traffic related to your product category comes from people looking to spruce up their patio at home. 

The solution? Look for companies that are also showing an intent spike in a related category, such as indoor office furniture — the combination of those two signals should get you closer to your target.

3. Combine intent with a related ZoomInfo ‘Scoop’

ZoomInfo surveys millions of knowledge workers every month to understand the projects and initiatives their companies are launching in the coming months. We publish these “Scoops” on our platform. 

If you see a company’s intent data spiking around Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), and the same company has a spending Scoop for UCaaS, telecommunications, or call centers, you’ve added a very strong layer of confirmation.

4. Marry an intent spike with a visit to your website using ZoomInfo’s WebSights

ZoomInfo has built the industry’s most robust IP address-to-company graph. We leverage this graph in our WebSights feature, which allows you to better identify which companies are visiting your website. 

WebSights can show you how often a given company is visiting your website, and reveal which parts of the site are attracting the most attention. This helps you understand where a company may be in its evaluation process: a company that’s visiting the pricing page is likely closer to a possible purchase than one doing initial research on the broader industry.

Dive Deeper into Intent Data on The Pipeline